With the way he is piling up runs in every game, Virat Kohli is leaving his contemporaries far behind. The India skipper is batting like a dream and is shattering records every now and then. A staggering 34 centuries in just 205 One-Day Internationals speaks volumes of his incredible consistency with the bat. The right-handed batsman is now only behind Sachin Tendulkar who occupies the top spot with 49 tons.
Kohli further enhanced his reputation as arguably the best batsman in the world with a monumental century in the third ODI against South Africa. The 29-year old played an unbeaten knock of 160 to help India thrash the Proteas by 124 runs. It was an absolute masterclass from Kohli on a pitch where the other batsmen struggled to play their natural game.
Kohli’s unbelievable exploits with the bat have left many short on words to describe his consistency. And at a time when none of his contemporaries are looking even close to touch his consistency, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has said the India skipper can be clubbed in the same pedigree as the famed batting quarter of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag.
“I have been fortunate enough to play with and against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Ricky Ponting, and Brian Lara, and this man is right up there with all of them. What stands out for me is not just his amazing control and his ability to adjust but also the energy and intensity he brings to his batting in each and every innings,” Ganguly wrote in his column for The Times of India.
“To get to 34 ODI centuries so quickly in his career is just out of the world. The fact that no other Indian batsman has touched a three-figure mark so far on this tour and only one South African has got a century shows what quality of batsmanship Kohli has displayed on this trip. And we still have a while to go!,” he added.
Kohli has looked in red-hot form in South Africa. After failing to score big in the first Test, he scored 153 in the following game. He followed it up with scores of 54 and 41 on a treacherous Wanderers wicket in the final Test. His form in the ODIs has been even better. In the first two games, he scored 112 and 46* before slamming 160 not out.
Ganguly further lauded Team India for taking 3-0 lead in the six-match series.
“It has been a superb performance from India. To see them 3-0 up in a six-match ODI series in South Africa, especially after losing the Test series, speaks volumes of the character shown by Virat Kohli and his boys,” Ganguly wrote.
Spinners get the praise:
The former India skipper also had a word of praise for India’s spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Chahal and Kuldeep have picked up 11 and 10 wickets respectively in the first three games.
“What has been equally commendable is the way Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have bowled. To get 21 out of 30 wickets in three matches says much, not just about the number but also about the psychological effect the spin duo is having on the South African batting line-up. What is even more satisfying is that this performance has come on pitches that have not offered much turn,” he wrote.
“The dismissal of South Africa captain, Aiden Markram, was a perfect example of the fact that the Proteas are not watching the revolution of the ball and lost the mental battle against the two spinners. One couldn’t help but notice the smile on Kuldeep’s face when he went pass the bat of Andile Phehlukwayo in the later stages of the game,” Ganguly added.
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